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Sundance: ‘Halston’ Sells to Studio Formerly Known as The Orchard (EXCLUSIVE)

Halston,” a look at the famous American fashion designer, has sold theatrical distribution and home entertainment rights to the studio formerly known as The Orchard Film Group. The deal comes following its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on Saturday.

It’s the first major purchase for the indie label since it announced this week that it had a deal in place to be sold to 1091 Media, an investment group run by Danny Stein and Joe Samberg, who previously oversaw The Orchard’s push into releasing films. The Orchard is divesting from movies to concentrate on its core music business. The film group will be renamed.

Halston,” an intimate look at a man who rose to the top of the world of haute couture with his minimalist aesthetic, was produced by CNN Films, which will retain all North American broadcast rights. It was directed by Frédéric Tcheng. The Orchard previously released his acclaimed 2015 documentary “Dior and I.” That film went on to gross $1.1 million at the box office, a tidy sum for a non-fiction film.

“After our previous successful collaboration on ‘Dior and I,’ I’m looking forward to working again with the passionate team over at The Orchard,” said Tcheng. “They are the perfect partner for the U.S. release.”

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Amy Entelis and Courtney Sexton of CNN Films are executive producers for “Halston” and the production represents more than two years of collaboration and development partnership with the filmmakers Frédéric Tcheng and Roland Ballester.

Documentaries have been a particularly hot genre at this year’s Sundance — the festival is playing host to non-fiction films about a number of political and cultural figures such as Dr. Ruth (“Ask Dr. Ruth”), Michael Jackson (“Leaving Neverland”), and Roy Cohn (“Where’s My Roy Cohn”). Part of the interest is attributable to the fact that many of the top-grossing films to come out of Sundance, a fraternity that boasts “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” and “RBG,” were documentaries. “Halston” should attract attention for its look at a designer who partied with Liza Minnelli and Andy Warhol, while outfitting Jacqueline Kennedy and other high society mavens.

The company plans to release the film theatrically this spring. CNN is eyeing a broadcast premiere in the third quarter of 2019. Following that airing, the film will later stream on Amazon. This will be The Orchard film group’s third partnership with CNN Films. The companies previously collaborated on “Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent” and “Trophy.”

The deal was negotiated by vice president of acquisitions Danielle DiGiacomo and Ana Vicente, Dogwoof head of sales. Dogwoof’s production fund, T-Dog Productions funded the development of the film. The broadcast rights were negotiated with the filmmakers by Stacey Wolf, vice president of business affairs for CNN and HLN, on behalf of CNN Films.

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